I “respect” the noirish-arthouse atmosphere (solemn, menacing, gates-of-hell atmosphere) and the slow, snail-like pacing. By which I mean that I’m okay with Refn’s decision to shoot it this way as, you know, a stylistic “look at me” signature thing. But I didn’t find it involving. Like, at all. It’s basically about ugliness, evil, malevolence, posing, slowness, dark lighting, irony, set design, death, perversity.
“This is not human behavior as I know it,” I kept saying to myself. “This isn’t even noir behavior. In the first scene it takes…what, 15 minutes for a cop to hassle and interrogate a young woman that he’s pulled over and apparently wants to take advantage of in some fiendish way? Less? Feels like 15. They talk and talk and talk and talk…what is this?”
If human history progressed at this pace we’d still be back in the heyday of the Roman Empire. I’d be wearing a toga and sandals and writing for the Foro Romano Gazette. Everyone takes too damn long to speak or do anything, for that matter. I asked myself again, “Why the fuck am I watching this?”
To be honest, I watched TOTDY because I’d heard it was a problematic slog and I wanted to see Miles Teller struggle. I’ve had it in for this fucking guy ever since that 2014 Hollywood-Highland escalator episode (“Don’t be a pervert, man”).
“This is not going to add to my understanding of or appreciation for the wonder of God’s universe,” I went on. “This isn’t going to turn me on or make me laugh and drop to my knees like I’m watching the second coming of Michelangelo Antonioni. It’s just going to irritate me so you know what? Fuck this series. Okay, I’ll probably watch a few more episodes.”